Fizz to drink over the festive season

Sommelier Luca Gagliardi - Dubai sommeliers - FooDiva - #FooDivaVino

Meet sommelier Luca Gagliardi

We have reached the celebratory season, a special festive time to spend with family and friends, as we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in a sparkling new year. All these celebrations mean only one thing in our wine world – bubbles to pop and toast our loved ones. For our seventh column, I am covering not only Champagne, but also other sparkling wines.

This column is not a comparison between Champagne, Prosecco and other bubbly wines, as they are all different products each with its own unique history and profile. In the end, it always comes down to a matter of taste preference, and we should appreciate each wine for what it is. So don’t let this column be anything more than four different styles at four different price tags, where I encourage you to make up your own mind based on your taste and pocket.

Thank you to all of you, our lovely readers, for the support you have shown our wine column. A very bubbly Christmas and a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2017. Cheers to life 🙂

Special thanks as well to both MMI and A&E where you can buy these wines, in addition to duty free of course. As usual, please note this column contains references to alcohol, and is therefore only for reading if you are of a legal drinking age in your country of residence (21 years in the UAE) and non-Muslim.

So here’s our seventh column of top 4 fizz to drink over the festive season – needless to say the Champagne recommendations are over AED100. Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #FooDivaVino. If you missed them, here are the previous columns. Cin cin 🙂

Col De Salici Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore - Prosecco - Wines in UAE - FooDiva - #FooDivaVinoBrut Rose Vintage Graham Beck - Wines in UAE - FooDiva - #FooDivaVinoChampagne Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve - Champagne - Champagne in UAE - FooDiva - #FooDivaVinoTaittinger Prestige Rose Brut - Champagne - Champagne in UAE - FooDiva - #FooDivaVino

  • Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG, Col de’ Salici, Italy – Prosecco is on the rise all around the world because it is a versatile product – unfussy, easy to drink and very fresh. The Col de’ Salici represents Prosecco at its best, the Superiore DOCG, which stands for quality Prosecco. It really showcases the white fruit of the Glera grape together with some floral and nutty flavours. The bubbles have a medium persistence due to the lower pressure and are quite frothy and spritzy. Thanks to sweet notes at the end, it matches very well with sweet and fruity antipasto, like prosciutto and melon, caramelised onion tart and roast pumpkin quiche. Above all, it’s an amazing aperitif served with Aperol and a slice of orange. AED87 + tax from MMI.
  • Sparkling Brut Rose, Graham Beck, South Africa, 2010 – of all the sparkling wines I know, Graham Beck is definitely one of the most consistent producers and this rosé is the evidence. In Europe, we use the terms ‘Champagne Method’ or ‘Méthode Classique’ to describe the second fermentation in the bottle, which denotes that it’s made in the same way as Champagne – but in South Africa the reference is ‘Cap Classique’. This wine is salmon pink in colour and is made mainly from the Pinot Noir grape that imparts fantastic red fruit notes, together with a creaminess and complexity from the small amount of Chardonnay that completes the blend. It is best served with smoked salmon, sea bream and grapefruit ceviche, or oysters with a mignonette dressing. AED99 + tax from A&E.
  • Brut Reserve Champagne, Billecart-Salmon, France – probably one of the top ‘Brut Reserves’ ever produced in Champagne, this product is made with an ideal balance of freshness and elegance. A real top Champagne that isn’t crazy on the price (by UAE standards), it boasts great fruity notes of peaches and pears. It is a full body on the palate, with some tropical flavours, biscuit notes and hints of creamy mousse. Please treat it well and don’t shake this bottle as it’s best to be drunk and not wasted on the floor. Champagne is very versatile with all foods, so there is no perfect matching as it goes well with anything. I can usually only afford one bottle so I prefer to serve it as a welcome drink on Christmas Day or with a late breakfast on New Year’s Eve. AED330 + tax from MMI.
  • Rose Champagne, Taittinger, France – rosé Champagne is always one of my favourites, and of course it comes with a high price tag. However, this particular Taittinger is one of the more ‘affordable’ rosé Champagnes. It boasts a beautiful dark pink colour and fruit flavours reminiscent of strawberries, raspberries and red currants. Velvety and a full body on the palate with quite persistent bubbles, I would probably match this with Christmas turkey, all the trimmings and cranberry sauce. Yes, think meat for this beautiful Champagne, from chicken cacciatore and quail pithivier pie, to veal schnitzel and Peking duck. AED415 + tax from A&E.

WHO IS LUCA GAGLIARDI? Sommelier by birth, and Michelin-starred trained maître d’, Luca dedicated a decade to the service of world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. His CV boasts restaurants and bars including Roberto’s, Iris, Solo and R Trader. In his spare time, Luca is in his state-of-the-art home kitchen cooking for friends and discovering new wines, typically anything but rosé! You can follow him on his wine blog Tasted and Rated, Twitter at @sommelierdubai and on Instagram at @simonelucagagliardi

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